John K Grande

Vancouver Park Board – The Ivy Project

The Ivy Project, led by Sharon Kallis, was a community-involved public programming initiative born out of the Stanley Park Environmental Art Project.

Vancouver artist Sharon Kallis works with unwanted natural materials. Through engaging local community in common handwork, unwanted materials are re-purposed into something new, creating opportunities for individuals to connect with nature in a unique, meditative, yet community oriented way.

Run in partnership with the Vancouver Park Board and the Stanley Park Ecology Society, the Ivy Busters program has removed more than 3.95 hectares of invasive species from Stanley Park since 2004. The intent of The Ivy Project was to create art installations that use the biomass that is unwanted and create opportunities for learning about the ecosystem of the park; is a creative method for observation and turns a material with negative impact to potentially good uses.

The Ivy Project saw over 180 volunteer community members turn mounds of English ivy into crocheted small bird net forms, woven nurse logs, a knitted boat, and a knitted anti-erosion blanket.

Please visit The Ivy Project website for more information and photos on this unique project.

Read an interview with Sharon Kallis by John K. Grande where Sharon goes into more detail around the process of re-purposing the ivy and working with SPES and community members on The Ivy Project.

via Vancouver Park Board – Arts.

Art Nature Dialogues: a review.

Ideas are a bit like oxygen. The right amount allows us functionality;  too much and we get all high. Such is the feeling you get after a read of Art Nature Dialogues, wherein John K. Grande interviews a series of environmental artists.  There’s a spectacular array of materials and viewpoints, from the manure sculptures of Jerilea Zempel to the interventions of Betty Beaumont. What emerges is not only a concise study of environmental artists and their motivations, but an opportunity to examine the way artists describe their work.

When asked what brought them together as artists, for instance, Gilles Bruni and Marc Babarit , known for such works as The Stream Path, reply:

“The face of working as a pair, in situ and outside brings a fundamental social dimension to our work, firstly about ‘minimal ethnic unity,’ . . . Being two, we develop the minimal conditions of collaboration and codependance, of synergy, of respect of the sharing, of conflict and contract . .”

To be blunt: What? Not every artist is quite so over-articulate, but the language of the interviews ranges from the simple and practical to the etheral and other-worldly. I’d love to be able to draw a parallel here between the quality of an artist’s work and the words they use to describe it, but that parallel would be nothing but gaudy bauble-words.

That same lung-opening high you might get from The Stream Path is present in Spin Offs by Patrick Dougherty, or Mario Reis’ river paintings. It’s what makes the artists particularly relevant and exciting (despite, not because of, their habit of comparing themselves to Andy Goldsworthy). These artists have struck a chord, gone beyond the Land Art movement of the 70s (which, they will tell you, was limitied in its true connection to place), and articulated relationships, feelings and memes that speak to where we are now(-ish).

It’s all summed up very well in a quote from Hamish Fulton, an artist of long walks:

Art is essential in a healthy society. As they say, art is like oxygen. Whether we say art is profound, or worth investing in, sexy, or a rip-off and and rubbish, it doesn’t matter, because all those crazy and insulting and wonderful qualities all go to make up what we call contemporary art.

Go to the Green Museum